How did my baby who ate everything in sight turn into the pickiest of toddlers?
I dont know why but my toddlers give me such a hard time when it comes to eating their veggies. This sent me on a journey to help them get a more balanced diet and incorporate veggies into their day any way I could.
I have learned a few tricks and now I am sharing what really works when it comes to getting toddlers to eat more vegetables.
- Disguise it in things they love – I’ve hid veggies in everything from popsicles to muffins. I’ve even been really sneaky and incorporated veggies into our breakfast. One of my girlfriends shared the cutest recipe of green eggs and ham. I blend spinach with the eggs before I cook them and the kids love that their eggs match one of their favorite books! I am sharing a few of my favorite recipes to sneak veggies into your kids favorite items at the bottom of this post. With most of the recipes I even add an extra supplement to make sure they are getting the nutrition they need!
- Make eating fun – If we change the way they see dinner time then your kids are more likely to do what you ask. We use some adorable plates and the girls love making broccoli skirts or brussel sprout bows. I also use cookie cutters to cut veggies in fun shapes. Also try giving your veggies fun names like “coco the mighty cucumber” (ok I know that isn’t the most unique name but when you are trying to get their attention you have to work fast). Overall we try to make mealtime a giant game. “lets see who can make the loudest crunch” or “this veggie man is going for a walk (into their mouth)” seem to work for my girls. Have fun with it and they will too.
- Start your own garden – We are lucky enough to have our own little plot at our community garden. We love getting the girls involved and they love getting their hands dirty. After our first harvest i noticed they were pulling snap peas and tomatoes right off the plant and eating them like candy. I was shocked! They never ate vegetables like that before. I realized they were excited to try something that they grew from a seed and so we are sure to visit our garden to get our veggie fix regularly. If you are looking to start your own garden I love this little kit.
- Always have veggies available – I recently created a little tray in the fridge that is easily accessible for the girls. I fill it with little pre portioned bags of vegetables and fruits so they can help themselves when they are hungry. Giving them a bit of independence and authority seems to work to my advantage.
- Consistency – I read here that it can take up to TEN times of being exposed to a new food for a child to actually try it. TEN! So even if they say “no” just keep trying.
- Give them control – When we go to the grocery store I like to have them pick what they want to make for dinner. If they are picking the veggies that is going to increase your chances of veggie filled tummies come dinner time.
- Make it easy – You want to encourage them but if you put too much pressure you can actually set yourself back. If there are already one or two veggies they enjoy serve those most of the time and only incorporate the new items 1 or 2 times a week. This isn’t going to change overnight and trying new things can be intimidating so make this easy on them and easy on you by taking baby steps.
- Trick them – Almost every day we have a delicious chocolate milkshake. Yup, every single day! Ok maybe some days we will have a vanilla milkshake or a strawberry milkshake but regardless of the flavor every day my girls come and beg for their milkshake. You might think I am crazy when I say I happily hand it over. Its true. I am giving them a “special treat” and they have no idea that what they are drinking is actually full of vitamins, probiotics, fiber, Omega-3’s and protein. Kidzshake supports healthy immune function and brain development and fills in the nutritional gaps when they aren’t eating the balanced diet I wish they were. And the best part?!?! It tastes so so so good. Like so good that I try to make a little extra so I can have a taste but they drink it all and I sit there all sad. I’ve been checking out the Kidzshake website lately for even more healthy and yummy recipes. You should try the Mango Ice Cream, oh it’s so good I think I am going to go make some now!
- Set a good example – This is so simple. You children are more likely to do what you do than what you say so make sure you are setting a good example and filling your plate with veggies. You will be surprised, they might just give that cauliflower a try if they see their mom and dad really enjoying it.
- Explain to them why veggies are so important – I truly believe that kids are smart. Explain to them why veggies are so important for their growing bodies. Have they been looking forward to riding a big kid ride but they still have a few inches to grow? Or maybe they have been trying to master their first cartwheel? Explain to them that veggies make it all possible! Even show them a cute youtube video about nutrition, there are a lot of resources out there if you just spend the time to look. Here are some my girls like:
- Now you are ready. You have some helpful tips to get your kids to eat more veggies tonight! Arm yourself with the proper tools and you will see your kids start to not only eat veggies but love them!
Want some more inspiration? Here are some healthy and nutritious recipes that my kids love:
Power Packed Pancakes
2 scoops of vanilla kidzshake
blend oats on medium, add other ingredients and mix until well blended. Cook on buttered pan.
Chocolate Zuchinni Muffins
1 cup Zucchini
1/2c unsweetened almond milk
1 Egg white
1/4 cup Applesauce, unsweetened
1/3 cup Honey
1 tsp Baking soda
1/2 cup Chocolate chips, regular or mini
1/3 cup Cocoa powder, unsweetened
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla
1 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
2 tbsp Coconut oil
preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners that are sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
Dry shredded zucchini with a paper towel.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
I separate bowl add coconut oil, honey, vanilla, egg and egg white; mix on medium-low until smooth and well combined. Add in zucchini, applesauce, and almond milk; mix again. Slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
Evenly divide batter into prepared liners. Bake 22-25 minutes. After 5 minutes, remove muffins and transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.
Add one scoop of Strawberry or Vanilla Kidzshake to a cup of greek yogurt and you have a delisicious dip for your favorite fruit. What kid doesn’t like dipping?!?!
Toddler Approved Green Smoothie
1/2 cup coconut water
1 cup greek yogurt
1 cup chopped pineapple
1 cup chopped mango
2 ripe bananas
2 cups greens of choice: kale, collards, spinach, or a variety of all.
If my fruits are fresh I add 1/2c of ice (I don’t if my fruits are frozen)
Add the liquid ingredients into your blender first and then the rest. Blend for 1 minute and enjoy! I also like to add my girls daily vitamins and probiotics with 2 scoops of Strawberry or Vanilla Kidzshake.
Fruit and Veggie Popsicles
1 1/2c pineapple
3/4c coconut milk
Zest and juice lime; chop pineapple.
Blend all ingredients until completely smooth.
Pour into your favorite popsicle mold and freeze 3-4 hours or until completely solid.
If you are looking for some great popsicle molds we love these or these.
Here are some more of our favorite items we use to make eating veggies a whole lot easier and a lot more fun:
Do you have some special tips to get your kids to eat veggies? I would love to hear about them. Leave your tips in the comments below.